Sure-Fire Best Practices to Handle the Heat of Cold Chain Management

November 5, 2022

July 2, 2024


x min read

Any shipping and logistics manager in a global supply chain knows all too well the immense pressure of having to deliver on time, in full, and without product damage or quality degradation. However, those who oversee cold chain management of foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals, where hyper-accurate location and temperature tracking is a constant must, sit in the hottest seat of them all.

Theirs is a world where even the slightest temperature excursion could result in the loss of an entire shipment of food, medicines, vaccines, clinical trial specimens, or advanced cell and gene therapies (CGTs). Beyond the financial ramifications, a failure to maintain cold chain custody from the point of origin through final delivery could put human lives at risk.

The burden to drive down costs, increase supply chain efficiency, and deliver safe products has never been greater. Achieving those goals requires strategic partnerships and robust technology solutions that provide end-to-end shipment visibility and temperature tracking.

Our latest white paper delves into cold chain management, why it’s essential, and the processes involved in ensuring efficient operations in industries that rely heavily on an uninterrupted cold chain. We also present several challenges facing cold supply chains and offer best practices to overcome them.

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10 Best Practices in Cold Chain Management

The Importance of Cold Chain Management

Cold chain management is all about protecting the safety, integrity, and quality of perishable foods and temperature-sensitive medical products. Whether safeguarding a load of fresh organic blueberries worth $200,000 or a CGT worth up to $1 million per dose/treatment, sound cold chain logistics help reduce waste and ensure supply chain efficiency. End-to-end visibility provides insights that keep you in control throughout the supply chain journey. Cold chain management entails overseeing the following areas.

  • Storage: Temperature-controlled environments protect shipments before the journey begins
  • Packaging: Includes everything from special envelopes and insulated coolers to cold chain parcels and pallet systems that require gel packs and refrigerant bricks. 
  • Tracking: A cloud-based, multi-sensor tracking solution records temperature data and triggers alerts when excursions occur.
  • Transportation: The temperature within refrigerated vehicles (“reefers”) and reefer containers must be verified to match the requirements on the bill of lading. 
  • Customs Clearance: Ensuring all paperwork is complete, accurate, and aligned with country-specific requirements.
  • Product & People Management: Know the requirements of each product and train personnel in best practices for packaging, loading, and unloading them. 
  • Delivery: Whether going across town, coast to coast, or around the world, the ultimate goal is to complete deliveries of temperature-sensitive products on time and in full.

An end-to-end visibility solution that offers real-time hyper-accurate location and temperature data with actionable alerts helps provide companies in the food & beverage, pharmaceutical, and life sciences industries with the insight needed to protect their valuable shipments and human lives every step of the way.

Best Practices in Cold Chain Management

Overcoming challenges when handling temperature-sensitive products requires dedication, teamwork, the right partnerships, technology, and communication. Here are some best practices to consider for your cold chain management program.

  1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TRANSPORTATION PARTNERS: Ocean and rail can be cost-effective for long shipments but might not be best if deadlines are tight. Air cargo might be the best choice for time-sensitive medical shipments or high-priced commodities with a shorter shelf life — but it comes at a higher cost, and maintaining temperature could be a challenge. Road freight provides route flexibility, but finding capacity could be difficult. Regardless of the mode, it’s best to select carriers with experience in moving temperature-sensitive products. 
  1. ADOPT ROBUST TRACKING TECHNOLOGY: Your control over shipments doesn’t have to end when a shipment leaves a cold storage warehouse. A cloud-based solution featuring data loggers and hyper-accurate temperature trackers begins to record temperature data the moment trackers are activated and won’t stop until final delivery. This technology provides full transparency through track-and-trace capabilities, with configurable alerts that notify stakeholders of excursions.

Get 8 More Cold Chain Management Best Practices

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